Type of canoe covered by a deck except for a cockpit in which the paddler sits. It has a pointed bow and stern and no keel; the paddler faces forward, grasping a double-bladed paddle and dipping the blades alternately on either side. Usually built for one occupant, it can be designed for two or three. Kayaks were traditionally used for fishing and hunting by Eskimos, who stretched seal or other animal skins over a driftwood or whalebone frame and rubbed the skins with animal fat for waterproofing. The paddler wore an overlapping shield to allow the kayak to be righted without taking on water if it rolled over. Now often made of molded plastic or fiberglass, kayaks are widely used for recreation.
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